Monday, May 7, 2012

Building the XF-13b Grand Naga

First off, I'd like to apologize for the inactivity here over the past week or so. A combination of work and starting the process of buying a new home took up my time for a bit. With that, I'm going to be starting a new thing over here. Instead of just giving you a single breakdown shot of some of my builds, I'm going to be putting together a detailed breakdown with some setting fluff on their origins and current use. We'll start things off with the XF-13b Grand Naga.

After the riots on Quall, the Union became increasingly concerned with engagements dealing with close quarters urban environments. The Serpent Legion made finding a weapons platform to fit within that situation a high priority because their pilots were being deployed in similar situations with increasing frequency. The Skunkworks began designing a mobile frame from the ground up to give Legion pilots an edge. The result was the Grand Naga.

The first of my "cheats" for this build.
First things first. There are two "cheats" in this build that involve disfiguring some parts. Purists may scoff. But hey, I think it looks sweet, so I'm going to do it. Also, this is a very travis brick heavy build. There's 12 of them if you include the one in the shotgun, so don't be surprised if you start running low after building a few of these.

Let's begin the build with the legs. This is where my first "cheat" comes in. As you can see I've cut one of the tires to wrap it around the rear travis brick, with the radar dishes on the side creating the illusion that the tire goes into the back of the heel of the foot. That travis brick connects to a headlight, and then another travis, creating the foot. The ankle is one of the sturdiest connections you'll find while maintaining a good amount of flexibility. The only downside is there is no horizontal movement.

Next, the torso. As you can see, the central core of this is from Squieu's brilliant mini-frame. The motor piece (#4595) at the center is a wonderful place to start for torsos due to the large amount of studs hanging off it and the fact that it is also a very common piece in my experience. Three more travis bricks make an appearance here as well as some plates, cheese slopes, and tiles to complete the look.

This section of the frame is also very, very solid. There is little to no wiggle anywhere and the only piece that feels like it may fall off in any means is the 1x2 hinge piece on the crotch.

The legs attach by plugging the taps into the travis brick at the bottom of the torso.

Next we move to the arms. The tire technique here is something I use quite frequently due to the fact that I absolutely love how the matte, rubberized black breaks up the look of the frame beautifully, while adding a rounded aesthetic that is rather hard to achieve with standard brick usage. The arm attaches to the tap via a 1x1 plate w/ ring. This technique is something I've used a number of times with frames like the MkII Meerkat.

 It's a sightlier fragile connection without being too flimsy, although it gives you a lot of options for posing the arms. That plate is attached to a headilght piece and a travis brick (bringing the count to 11 with both arms at this point). Then come the standard issue weapons. We have a Molecular Blade and a Tactical Shotgun (which can be seen in more detail here). The shotgun contains the 12th travis brick of the build and could easily be used as a grenade launcher or really any number of other weapons.

The second cheat.
Bringing it all together gives you a near complete Grand Naga. There is just one more piece missing, the top. This is where the second cheat comes in. It involves cutting the ring off of a 1x1 plate w/ring and placing them into the top of the motor piece of the torso. If you're against destroying a couple of pieces, you could use 1/4 pins, although the connection isn't anywhere near as solid, and there is a bit more of a gap between the torso and the top slope. Now you have a completed Grand Naga!

The XF-13b Grand Naga is currently in the field testing stage with the Black Adders, commanded by Captain Uri Reed on Orion 6. So far, they have been invaluable tools in subduing and eliminating the  Free Colonist Terrorist movement on the planet's surface. Assuming continued excellent performance, these Nagas may be seen on the field in standard production within the coming year.